In response to an increase in demand for more challenging trail running routes, founder of Wildrunner, Owen Middleton has developed the Mountain Challenge Series to offer more hardcore runners three intense races held in the Jonkershoek, Helderberg and Swellendam mountains of the Western Cape.
“The Mountain Challenge Series culminates with the Marloth Mountain Challenge (MMC) in Swellendam to be held on 24 September this year. As the grand finale of the series it certainly doesn’t disappoint, offering the rare opportunity to run along the route of the historical six-day Swellendam Hiking Trail, which is closed to the public,” says Middleton.
Other than offering runners the chance to challenge themselves in an unimaginably beautiful setting, the unique race will present tough trials, testing the skills and abilities of participants. “It’s a demanding run,” says Middleton. “The extremely rugged nature of the race route epitomises the very essence of ultra skyrunning, testing runners not only on their endurance, strength and stamina. If you like the adventurous blend of unrelenting technical trail, huge climbs and descents while feeling like you’re in the middle of nowhere, then this is for you.”
The primary race is the 55km Ultra Skymarathon, which is an extreme trail with 3 494m of ascent and 3 494m of descent. It also serves as the qualifying race for the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc. There will also be shorter races on offer, namely the 24,5km Lite or the 35km Extreme trails.
With unpredictable weather conditions and the extreme nature of the challenge, safety is of paramount importance and a number of precautionary measures have been taken. “We have all the safety points in place, and every ten kilometres there is a radio checkpoint and sweepers, so from that point of view we have control mechanisms in place for safety out on the mountains,” says Middleton. “There’s also a compulsory kit check to ensure runners are prepared for all weather.”
Entries for the Marloth Mountain Challenge will close on 22 September 2016. To enter and for more information, visit the Mountain Challenge website.
“It’s brutal trail running in usually cold, hostile elements, which I thrive on, and takes place in beautiful, majestic mountains with a close-knit trail running tribe… what’s not to love!” says Marloth Mountain Challenge participant, Derrick Baard.